[Coral-List] Regarding the National Ocean Policy.

arlo at arlohemphill.com arlo at arlohemphill.com
Wed Nov 27 07:33:06 EST 2013

   Hi All,

   Thank you Les for making these important points on the need for a National
   Ocean Policy.

   It is extremely important to look not only at what this policy says, but
   also where it came from.  In an era of extreme partisan-bashing, it would be
   easy for some to write this off as "one of President Obama's Executive
   Orders".  But this is not something that materialized out of thin air and
   certainly not something formulated by and within the timeframe of the Obama
   administration itself.  Regardless of the policy's name, the measures and
   actions described within it have a long history and are very much a new
   incarnation of what began to emerge under the Bush Administration, not an
   alternative  or  a  rebuttal to it.  Much of the Bush years were spent
   evaluating the problems facing our oceans, as evidenced by the exhaustive
   recommendations of the joint Ocean Commissions.  What Bush began at the end
   of his administration, Obama continued in his - the process of transforming
   these long-evaluated recommendations into legislation.

   It is understandable that some may criticize the policy because President
   Obama chose to enact it by Executive Order rather than moving it through
   Congress.  However, the reality is that Obama faces a highly combative
   Congress, where even the best intentioned efforts can get held up for many
   years, being gutted and philosophically transformed in the process.  To
   instead move something forward by EO that had the support of the previous
   adminstration does make sense in this case, particularly when taking into
   account  the  sense of urgency often invoked in the Ocean Commisssions
   recommendations, not to mention the voices of leading ocean conservationists
   not directly affiliated with either commission.

   The stance that DEMA took with their letter to Congress runs diametrically
   opposed to advocacy efforts that marine conservation NGOs have undertaken in
   Washington for the past decade and beyond.  It should in no way be seen as
   the viewpoint of the recreational diving community as a whole, and is in
   fact contrary to the large subset of the diving community that supports
   policies to facilitate the conservation of ocean habitats and wildlife.


   Arlo Hemphill

   Message: 5
   Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2013 19:11:39 +0000
   From: "Kaufman, Leslie S" <[1]lesk at bu.edu>
   Subject: [Coral-List] Regarding the National Ocean Policy.
   To: Coral List <[2]coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
   Message-ID: <[3]94E77D80-CDC8-4835-A61B-41458D38E0EF at bu.edu>
   Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
   Hi all. I am responding to this posting on Coral List:
   Message: 2
   Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2013 16:33:03 -0500
   From: "Melbourne Briscoe" <[4]Mel at briscoe.com<[5]mailto:Mel at briscoe.com>>
   Subject: Re: [Coral-List] The Diving Industry and Ocean Conservation
   <[6]coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov<[7]mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
   Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
   Here are two things I've heard expressed, often forcefully!
   ** The NOP is a creation of the Obama administration, and has no apparent
   Congressional support, there may even be some enmity there.. As such, it
   will likely go away when the Obama administration goes away, as did the Bush
   Ocean Action Plan before it. Even the Obama administration has not been
   particularly supportive of the NOP, at least not with money. NOAA is the
   plan's biggest advocate, but now NOAA has a new administrator....so who
   ** DEMA is probably correct in not getting behind the NOP. Why waste the
   effort and any silver bullets they may have? Relationships between NOAA and
   the dive industry have not been especially cordial, so the level of trust
   toward NOP/NOAA is low.
   In my view,
   The folks on this list are quite supportive of the NOP because they take it
   at face value and there are parts of it they like a lot.
   DEMA is not supportive of the NOP, because they distrust the players and
   motives, and there are some parts of the NOP they don't like at all.
   I think one can get more legacy from discussions with Congress in the many
   coastal states, than by lining up behind sweeping administration policies
   that probably doomed.
   Whether the NOP persists past Obama or not, and whether it was perfectly
   crafted or not, are not the point. The NOP as written captures key issues
   that are pertinent to any law- past, present, or future- that purports to
   harmonize and sustain ocean uses and benefits.
   Legislative initiatives (like executive orders) come and go. The value that
   readers  of  Coral  List  can  add to the discourse has to do with the
   fundamental principles upon which any ocean law must be based in order to
   work. It is also these principles that could best be shared with the sport
   diving community, and that they could jump aboard in supporting, through
   whatever the instrument of the day might happen to be. These include but are
   not limited to (1) the need for a whole-system, ecosystem-based view, (2)
   the need to harmonize all existing ocean use laws and cumulatively reach a
   rational policy closure in the ocean (no free for alls), (3) the need to
   recognize and understand tradeoffs among ecosystem services or resources,
   and to find favorable outcomes among competing special interest groups who
   are battling each for their own well-being and favored resources.
   This  is  not  a matter of state vs. federal mandates. It happens that
   state-led  initiatives  in coastal ocean management have been the most
   successful  (most  notably  so  far,  California,  Rhode  Island,  and
   Massachusetts)...but  things would go a lot faster if the states could
   operate with federal assistance.
   Criticizing the NOP as a partisan or flawed device is totally missing the
   point. First see how you feel about the principles that motivated the NOP
   and created a need for national ocean use legislation, then worry about the
   strategy for instantiating these principles into law, under any and every
   administration. We'd better hurry. It's already evident that ocean wealth
   isn't going to wait around for us. If we do not respect and sustain the
   fountainheads from which it springs, the spring will simply run dry.
   Les Kaufman
   Professor of Biology
   Boston University Marine Program
   Marine Conservation Fellow
   Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Ecosystem Science and Economics
   Conservation International
   [9]lesk at bu.edu<[10]mailto:lesk at bu.edu>


   1. mailto:lesk at bu.edu
   2. mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   3. mailto:94E77D80-CDC8-4835-A61B-41458D38E0EF at bu.edu
   4. mailto:Mel at briscoe.com
   5. mailto:Mel at briscoe.com
   6. mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   7. mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   8. mailto:1dd801cee7ca$6cf57a00$46e06e00$@Briscoe.com
   9. mailto:lesk at bu.edu
  10. mailto:lesk at bu.edu

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